Rheannon Loth, an 8th grader at North Branch School in Afton, was one of four middle school students out of 1,248 entries to receive a state-wide honorable mention in Virginia in the 2015-2016 Letters about Literature contest. Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12 sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year.
Loth wrote to James McBride, author of The Color of Water. In one part of her letter, she noted: “Before reading your book, I was painfully ignorant of issues regarding food for families and of discrimination against minority groups. I am accustomed to having a full pantry and fridge with a generous selection, and it struck me as kind of crazy that you could write with such grace and beautiful language about how your family was always hungry or how you and your siblings battled for food.”
North Branch School opened its doors in 1983 with a handful of students in a living room and currently has an enrollment of 120 students on an 11-acre campus in Afton.